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Health Testing Programme For Deafness In Dogs Extended To All Breeds

16 December 2015    11:00
 

The Kennel Club has approved a new health testing programme for Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) testing for deafness in all pedigree dog breeds which have a known problem with congenital deafness.

In January 2015, the Kennel Club introduced an official BAER testing programme to record results for Dalmatians.  After running successfully for almost a year, and after receiving over 100 results, the programme has now been extended to all breeds. 

Owners of any pedigree breed may now forward BAER results directly to the Kennel Club for recording on their dog's registration record, making them available for publication via the Kennel Club's Health Test Results Finder.  There are a number of specialist centres in the UK which offer BAER screening, and each dog screened is issued with a veterinary certificate stating the dog's hearing status as: normal, unilateral hearing loss or bilateral hearing loss. 

Aimee Llewellyn, Head of Health and Research at the Kennel Club said: "It is hoped that centralising the data obtained through BAER testing will provide a clearer picture of the hearing status of breeds which have a higher risk of inherited deafness. 

"The results of BAER testing could also be used to help develop tools to enable breeders to make more informed breeding decisions in the future.  One of the Kennel Club's priorities is to the ensure that breeders are as well-equipped as possible to make responsible, informed choices to enable them to improve and maintain breed health, and we hope that expanding the BAER testing programme to all breeds will enable them to do this in the future."

Congenital deafness (deafness at birth) is usually inherited, but its mode of inheritance is not currently completely understood.  Inherited deafness is believed to be influenced by more than one gene and there may be additional breed-specific risk factors.  Breeds which may be more at risk of deafness include those that carry the extreme piebald gene (demonstrated by a predominantly white coat) or genes associated with merle coat colour (demonstrated by mottle patches of colour in a solid or piebald coat, blue or odd-coloured eyes), and also possible effects of skin pigment.

Owners of BAER tested dogs, from all Kennel Club recognised breeds, are encouraged to submit copies of certificates directly to the Kennel Club.  To aid in the processing of results, owners can ask veterinary professionals from testing centres to complete and stamp a Kennel Club BAER Test Report Form during testing. The BAER Test Report Form can be downloaded and printed from www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/727112/baer_test_report.pdf and taken along to the testing centre.  Forms and certificates can by submitted by post, or email, but any e-mails must contain clear and legible scans.

The programme criteria and process are as follows:

  • For publication, all participating dogs will need to be Kennel Club registered and microchipped (prior to screening).
  • The microchip of individual dogs will be scanned prior to screening to verify that the correct dog is being screened.
  • The actual screening protocol will be determined by the individual screening centre which will issue its usual veterinary certificate for the tested dog.
  • BAER test certificates and BAER Test Report Forms can be sent to Health & Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London, W1J 8AB or scanned and emailed to hbs@thekennelclub.org.uk.

For further information on BAER testing, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/579531/baer_test_programme.pdf.

ENDS


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